Category Archives: Helpful Information

Activity and Transportation Updates in Mammoth Lakes

Are you looking to travel to Mammoth Lakes? Varying weather conditions and changing protocols could impact your travel. It is essential to get the latest update on what is open and currently in operation in Mammoth lakes, as well as road closures. Checking this information in advance should make your next trip to Mammoth Lakes a breeze.

Visit the official Mammoth Mountain website for the latest activity and transportation updates. Plan your trip accordingly, and we hope you have a blast!

 

Nancy Davidson
Mammoth Village Properties
760 937-2301 mobile
nancy@mammothcountry.com
www.MammothCountry.com
CA Broker’s License #01264041

Nancy Davidson is your ultimate real estate resource for Mammoth Lakes, CA and The Eastern Sierra. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo by kim giseok on Unsplash

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Winterizing Your Home

The winter season is upon us, so now is a great time to address winter maintenance before the weather makes even the simplest of repairs significantly more difficult. Winterizing your home in advance of the changing seasons ensures that you aren’t having to make any repairs during the winter months or having to suffer without necessary conveniences.

Furnace Inspection and Routine Maintenance

Several routine maintenance tasks can be performed on your furnace by you, the homeowner. Such tasks include changing the air filter and making sure any flammable objects have been removed from around the furnace unit itself. You can also go around the house, ensuring that all of the vents are unobstructed from furniture, clutter, etc. Air needs to be able to circulate efficiently throughout your home. For the next steps in warranting your furnace is safe and in its best operating condition, you must call on a professional. A certified and licensed heating expert will assess the unit’s blower belt and motor, assuring that they do not need any repair before taking on the winter months. All are preventative measures taken to avoid fire and alleviate the opportunity for poisonous gases to enter your home. Hiring a licensed heating professional is pivotal in the assurance that your furnace is safe and sound working order before entering the winter months.

Addressing Your Windows and Doors

Begin by checking all of the weather stripping around your windows and doors for any signs of air leaks or drafts. Replace any stripping that has been pulled loose or is showing signs of wear. Even the smallest of crevices creates a passage for cold air to enter or warm air to escape. Finally, inspect the actual glass of the windows and doors for cracks or breaks. If necessary, replace the glass. Winter’s cold air drafts entering your home leads to money exiting your wallet.

Fireplace and Chimney Preparation

A cheap chimney sweep fireplace cleaning professional can be found in cities nationwide. The chimney professional will clean out your fireplace and chimney of any creosote and soot build-up. Creosote can catch fire from the sparks flying upward while burning. The mortar in the bricks surrounding the chimney will also be closely inspected for cracks or holes. If found, these cracks and holes must be repaired by a professional bricklayer, as they too can be a source of fire.

Exterior Detail

Inspect your roof for loose or missing shingles. Replace or repair as needed to prevent water leaks when the freezing rain or snow begins to melt. Clear gutters and downspouts of leaves and debris, and inspect that they are fastened securely to the house. Be sure the downspouts extend at least five feet away from the home to inhibit ponding around the foundation. Lastly, close all vents and openings around the foundation, or crawl, to keep unwanted intruders from finding refuge for the winter.

Congratulations! Your home has now been winterized. Taking preventative action in the fall is your best line of defense against winter. Instead of hastily thumbing through the phonebook on a Sunday afternoon in mid-January, you can sleep warmly in the comfort of knowing your home is safe and protected.

Anytime you need a recommendation for a home professional to assist you with something big or small around your home, give me a call. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, help you to find your dream home and/or determine the value of your existing property.

 

Nancy Davidson
Mammoth Village Properties
760 937-2301 mobile
nancy@mammothcountry.com
www.MammothCountry.com
CA Broker’s License #01264041

Nancy Davidson is your ultimate real estate resource for Mammoth Lakes, CA and The Eastern Sierra. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo by Jessica Johnston on Unsplash

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Five Ways to Improve the Organization of Your Pantry

A pantry is a great way to store food and other kitchen items within the kitchen but out of your cabinets. Since pantries come in many sizes, that leaves an endless variety of options on how you can best organize the pantry for your household. In a disorganized pantry, it is easy to lose things in the pantry but with some basic organization, you can keep that from happening.

  1. Start by cleaning out items you don’t use or have expired. There is no reason to organize items that you will never use so start with this step. Moving forward, it’s a good idea to periodically clean out the pantry to toss items that you purchased but never got used for whatever reason. I would recommend during in January and sometime over the summer.
  2. Group items by the frequency you use them. There is no reason to have the rarely used karo syrup stored in the most accessible location.
  3. It’s also a good idea to group items by size. Storing a small container of spices next to a family size box of cereal will waste space in your pantry plus confuse everyone.
  4. Purchase bins and storage containers. There are lots of places to buy them, but dollar stores offer a lot of options in a variety of shapes and sizes. These can be great for small items like granola bars and other snacks, canned goods and baking essentials like chocolate chips and nuts. Some items just don’t stack well, and this will keep your pantry looking neat and help you find something quickly when you are looking for it.
  5. Don’t forget the door of your pantry. Some doors may not offer great options but many of them will allow you to add shelves that can provide additional storage for canned goods, spices and other items.

Even the best organization won’t last if you never take the time to put anything away. At a minimum of once a day, take a quick look at the pantry and make sure everything is in its place. With multiple hands in the pantry, things can get moved but a daily check will keep everything where you want it and save you time in the long run.

If you have any additional questions about updating or organizing your home, I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, help you to find your dream home and/or determine the value of your existing property.

 

Nancy Davidson
Mammoth Village Properties
760 937-2301 mobile
nancy@mammothcountry.com
www.MammothCountry.com
CA Broker’s License #01264041

Nancy Davidson is your ultimate real estate resource for Mammoth Lakes, CA and The Eastern Sierra. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image courtesy of Vivian Evans/Flickr.com.  

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Fall Maintenance for Homeowners

As summer winds down and fall approaches, you will hopefully get some relief from the hot weather of recent weeks. As the temperatures cool, this makes a great time to take care of home maintenance tasks outside and prepare your home for the winter months. What should you do around your home in the fall to make sure you are ready for the next season? Here are five things you definitely should not skip.

  1. Lawn maintenance is common in the fall. If you choose to aerate in the fall, then you may want to fertilize your lawn after that. The summer is harsh on your grass. Giving it some attention after the weather starts to cool can help it recover before its dormant winter season. If you do fertilize your lawn, you will need to water it as well if the weather doesn’t cooperate with you. Without watering, your fertilizer will be wasted.
  2. Fall is a great time to seal and stain your deck. Depending on your deck, this may need to be done annually or every two to three years. You need to avoid the wettest season and while summer may have plenty of time that isn’t wet, it may be too hot for you to do this kind of activity depending on the size of your deck. While you may have some fall rain, you should likely have plenty of dry days too so you can complete this activity without getting into the cold months. While your area may be drier in the winter, if there is rain, it is likely to stick around longer since the temperatures are cooler. Most likely the fall will still have plenty of warm, sunny days to make deck maintenance ideal.
  3. Empty the gutters and downspouts and make any necessary repairs. When the leaves start to come off the trees in the fall, it is best to have your gutters empty, so they aren’t overloaded. Overflowing gutters can pull away from the house causing damage and allowing water to flow into your home. This damage is often hard to spot until it has progressed to a big and expensive problem.
  4. Winterize any outdoor water sources. This includes outdoor spigots, irrigation systems, sinks, fountains, and anything else. If temperatures dip below freezing with water in the lines, it could cause your pipes to burst creating an expensive and messy repair.
  5. Have your fireplace cleaned for the new season if you didn’t have it done at the end of fireplace season. If this is not something you have been doing regularly, talk to the person that comes out about the recommended schedule for this maintenance task depending on your fireplace usage habits. Fireplaces provide great heat during the winter but can be dangerous if they aren’t properly maintained.

Routine maintenance is critical to caring for your home and protecting your most important asset. Anytime you need a recommendation for a home professional to assist you with something big or small around your home, give me a call. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, help you to find your dream home and/or determine the value of your existing property.

 

Nancy Davidson
Mammoth Village Properties
760 937-2301 mobile
nancy@mammothcountry.com
www.MammothCountry.com
CA Broker’s License #01264041

Nancy Davidson is your ultimate real estate resource for Mammoth Lakes, CA and The Eastern Sierra. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image by 123switch from Pixabay 

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Remodeling vs Moving…Which is Right for You?

After a few years or decades in your home, you may discover it no longer meets your needs. When that is the case, you have two options. You can move and find a new home that meets your needs or remodel your existing home, so it fits your needs. Both options have pros and cons so there is a lot to consider when you are making your decision. Here are four questions to ask yourself before you decide.

  1. Is your location good or bad? If the location doesn’t work for you, that can’t be changed. In this case, moving is the option that will fix this problem.
  2. What about the size of your home? Do you want significantly more or less space? If you want less space, it’s time to move. If you want more space, you could add on to your home if your lot has enough space for that, your restrictions allow it and you have the money to do so. If adding on isn’t an option, moving is again the best choice.
  3. Beyond the location and if you like the place you are, do you like the area and feel comfortable in it? Did you buy your home 20 years ago and then a road was expanded, and you are closer to the highway than you would like? This is another thing that can’t be changed without moving. On the flipside, you may adore your location. It is very easy to grow attached to neighbors and your daily routine from where you live. If you love WHERE you live but don’t love the house anymore, a remodel might can help your house better meet your needs so you will love it as much as your neighbors.
  4. Are you looking for a home that will allow you to age-in-place? You may have lived in your home for 20-30 years but still love it. However, if all the bedrooms are upstairs, it may not be the place for you to grow old. Maybe you have a rarely used dining room or study that would make a great master suite. A remodel job may give you another 15-20 years in the home you love.

It’s important to think about this decision from multiple directions. Think about the financial aspect. Will a remodel cost so much that you will never recover anywhere near what you put into it? Remodeling can also be stressful. Are you up for the stress? Do you have the savings or are you willing to take out a loan for the changes you want to make? Can you remodel everything you want to at once or will you need to do it in stages so you can still live there? There are so many things to consider. Anytime you are thinking about real estate decisions, feel free to call me to answer any questions you have. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, help you to find your dream home and/or determine the value of your existing property.

 

Nancy Davidson
Mammoth Village Properties
760 937-2301 mobile
nancy@mammothcountry.com
www.MammothCountry.com
CA Broker’s License #01264041

Nancy Davidson is your ultimate real estate resource for Mammoth Lakes, CA and The Eastern Sierra. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo by Milivoj Kuhar on Unsplash

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Prep Your Yard for Spring

Spring is officially here and thanks to the Coronavirus, you should have more time at home than ever before to make your yard look its best. If your yard has been neglected throughout the winter (or maybe for years), where should you start to help it look its best?

Start with a vigorous raking of your yard. You probably raked in the fall to clear the leaves that had fallen but spring raking has a different purpose. The primary reason for spring raking is to clear the thatch that has built up over the winter. While raking, you will also have the chance to see if there are areas of your lawn that need special attention.

Spring is the perfect time of year to apply preemergent herbicides. These herbicides will help prevent the growth of weeds as the grass starts to grow. As the weeds begin to grow, you will want to pull the weeds or apply a postemergent herbicide to stop their growth.

As you prepare for your first cut of the season, do not forget to tune up your lawn mower, weed eater and other equipment so they are ready for the season ahead. After your equipment has been prepped for the season, it is a good time to give your lawn its first cut of the year. For the first cut, raise the deck on your lawn mower to its highest level to cut your yard. This will allow your lawn to look a little cleaner and give young grass a chance to grow before you start cutting it regularly.

After you have prepared your grass, it is time to give the rest of your yard some attention. Add some bright flowers, freshen your mulch and shape the bushes so your yard looks its best. If you are thinking about selling your home anytime soon, these preparations are a great first step toward increasing your curb appeal. If you would like to talk about the current real estate market and the value of your home, give me a call today.

 

Nancy Davidson
Mammoth Village Properties
760 937-2301 mobile
nancy@mammothcountry.com
www.MammothCountry.com
CA Broker’s License #01264041

Nancy Davidson is your ultimate real estate resource for Mammoth Lakes, CA and The Eastern Sierra. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image by aedrozda from Pixabay 

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Condo vs Townhouse… What’s the Difference?

If you are thinking about buying real estate, there are many different types of properties to choose from. Many different factors will help you determine the kind of property that is best for you. Start by thinking about your lifestyle along with your interests, budget, where you plan to live along with your wants and needs.

You may be considering a property that is attached to others. There are different kinds of properties that fall into this category, but the most common types are condominiums and townhouses or townhomes. If you are exploring your options in attached dwellings, you may wonder what is the difference? Here are the things you need to know when it comes time to pick between condo and townhouse.

While many people think they know the difference in condos and townhouses, chances are you may be mistaken. Condos and townhouses are not distinguished by the architecture of the structure but by the ownership of the residence. In both condos and townhouses, the units are attached to others and will have some shared areas even if it is only a wall. With condos, you will own your individual unit plus you share ownership of the building and common areas with the other owners in the building.

When purchasing a townhome, you will own your individual unit plus you also own the land the unit sits on. There will also be some kind of an HOA that manages the common areas and the exteriors of the building and the property. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably by people though they may not be using them correctly. If you are looking for an attached dwelling to buy, make sure you understand the pros and cons of each style and compare them to your wants and needs to help you decide what will be best for you. In some cases, townhouse style properties are technically condos due to the lack of land ownership that comes with the purchase.

When you are weighing your options, make sure to consider cost, who will be responsible for maintenance and repairs on the exterior and common areas and the available amenities. Many people are drawn to condos and townhouses because they are able to enjoy the benefits of ownership without the full-time responsibility for maintaining all aspects of the property though they will still be responsible for covering the cost of the maintenance. For additional information on knowing the difference between condos and townhomes, I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, help you to find your dream home or determine the value of your existing property.

 

Nancy Davidson
Mammoth Village Properties
760 937-2301 mobile
nancy@mammothcountry.com
www.MammothCountry.com
CA Broker’s License #01264041

Nancy Davidson is your ultimate real estate resource for Mammoth Lakes, CA and The Eastern Sierra. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay 

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Planning Your Spring Gardens

If you are getting tired of winter and longing for warmer weather, now is the perfect time to start planning your Spring gardens so you are ready when the warm weather makes its appearance. The first place to start is by making a list of what you want to grow. Once you know what you want to grow, spend a little time sketching your gardens and planning the perfect place for each plant variety. You will want to consider the amount of sunlight the area gets each day, the soil quality and the likelihood that the soil will hold or drain water away from the plants.

When it is time to start your garden, do you plan to start your plants from seeds or buy the plants and plant those? There are benefits to both. Seeds are much cheaper but require you to start earlier and may be more work than you want to do. If you are plan to start from seeds, go ahead and purchase your supplies because you will need to plant the seeds much earlier so they are ready to transplant to the ground at the right time. In addition to the seeds, you will need to purchase starter pots and soil so you have everything on hand to get started. If you aren’t sure when the right time to put your plants in the ground is, consult a zone map so you can determine the most likely growing seasons for your area. If you are still new to gardening, consider joining a local garden club or find a Facebook group for your area where you might could get advice from other gardeners that are close to you.

You can grow a wide variety of things in your garden from fruits and vegetables to plants and flowers. Trees and shrubs are also nice additions to your yard if you are looking for something that will last more than a season. If you have different plants that should be planted at different times, plan out a calendar for your gardening projects so you don’t miss any key dates to get your plants in the ground.

There are many resources available online to assist you with your research and planning as well. Advance planning in your garden is just as important as other parts of your home if you want good results. If you have any additional questions about gardening,I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, help you to find your dream home and/or determine the value of your existing property.

 

Nancy Davidson
Mammoth Village Properties
760 937-2301 mobile
nancy@mammothcountry.com
www.MammothCountry.com
CA Broker’s License #01264041

Nancy Davidson is your ultimate real estate resource for Mammoth Lakes, CA and The Eastern Sierra. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay 

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What to Know About an Appraisal Report

Without an appraisal on your home, most lenders will not even consider making a loan. An expert opinion of value is required before they will allow a property to serve as collateral. Usually the appraisal is ordered by the lender from an independent appraisal company, but it’s not unheard of for the homeowner to order an appraisal for a variety of reasons including insurance purposes.

Fannie Mae Form 1004 or Uniform Residential Appraisal Report is the most common form of residential appraisal.  This form is used when the lender or homeowner requests a “full appraisal” since it requires an interior and exterior inspection.

Learning how to read an appraisal report will help you understand how the appraiser arrived at his opinion of value.

The first section of a Uniform Residential Appraisal Report will identify the property and detail any improvements on the property. There are a variety of ways to identify the property such as property address and legal description. In addition to identifying the property, there will be sections describing the neighborhood and your home in detail. Comparable properties can be found and evaluated after the appraiser identifies the characteristics of the appraised property.

Section two contains the chart listing all the comparables and the adjustments. Essentially, the second page is a way for an appraiser to “show his work” and justify his opinion of market value. In most cases, the comparables will be sales from within the last six months and within a half-mile radius of the subject property. This prevents the need for the appraiser to make any significant adjustments based on time and neighborhood.

The values of the comparables begin as the listed sales prices, and those values will be adjusted based on how they compare to the subject property. The gross adjustments will then be added or subtracted from the sales prices to arrive at the adjusted values. The appraiser then uses these adjusted values to arrive at his opinion of the subject property’s market value. A lender may not accept the appraisal If the gross adjustment is too high.

An appraiser may also provide an income value and cost value. The income approach is used to evaluate the estimated value of income producing properties such as rental homes, and the cost approach is normally used to estimate replacement costs for insurance purposes.

Additional pages of the appraisal will include supporting documents such as photos of the subject property and surrounding neighborhood, sketches of the subject property, any contracts that were considered during the appraisal process and copies of any other pertinent documents.

Understanding how to read a Uniform Residential Appraisal Report will help you to spot any potential mistakes and have the peace of mind that the appraisal is accurate, as well as to bring them to the lender’s attention before they become an issue. Contact me for a consultation. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home, help you to find your dream home or determine the value of your existing property.

 

Nancy Davidson
Mammoth Village Properties
760 937-2301 mobile
nancy@mammothcountry.com
www.MammothCountry.com
CA Broker’s License #01264041

Nancy Davidson is your ultimate real estate resource for Mammoth Lakes, CA and The Eastern Sierra. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Photo courtesy of jarmoluk/Pixabay.com

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Get to Know Your Homeowner’s Insurance

If you own your home and have a mortgage, you are required to carry homeowner’s insurance. Even if you don’t have a mortgage on your property, you still likely have insurance on the home. Homeowner’s insurance will cover damage to your home in case of some disasters, storms, fires and theft. Many Americans aren’t aware of what is and is not covered by their homeowner’s insurance policy. If you aren’t sure, take the time to thoroughly read your policy or call your agent for a list of exceptions.

In many cases, damage resulting from earthquakes or floods is excluded so you may need an additional policy for that if you live in an area where that is likely to be an issue. It is also important to know what your deductible is and understand how it works.

Here are some facts you need to understand:

  • Homeowners policies usually do not cover replacement of all of your possessions. Check for coverage caps on personal belongings in your home. These can include jewelry or firearms.  You may need to get a separate rider to cover these items.
  • Mold damage resulting from a leak is frequently not covered. Mold remediation can cost thousands of dollars so make sure to ask about this if you want coverage.
  • Your policy probably does not include damage caused by earthquakes.
  • Your policy probably does not cover flood damage. You’ll need a separate flood policy if you want to protect yourself. If you live in a flood zone, you may be required to have such a policy. But, if you live near such a zone, you should consider a flood policy. Flood insurance is normally inexpensive if you don’t live close to water.
  • Make sure you understand if your policy is for replacement cost or market value. You will want to be able to replace your house in case of a total loss.

It is extremely important to read and understand your homeowner’s insurance policy.  If there are things you don’t understand, ask. As a homeowner, you will still be expected to pay your mortgage even if your home is damaged by a disaster, so this protection is critical to protect your family. Also ask your agent what is covered in case your home is uninhabitable for a period while you make repairs. You will want to have coverage that allows you to pay for another place to live if you can’t live in your home for a time. For additional information regarding the home buying or selling process, I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, help you to find your dream home or determine the value of your existing property. 

 

Nancy Davidson
Mammoth Village Properties
760 937-2301 mobile
nancy@mammothcountry.com
www.MammothCountry.com
CA Broker’s License #01264041

Nancy Davidson is your ultimate real estate resource for Mammoth Lakes, CA and The Eastern Sierra. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

Image by Mona Tootoonchinia from Pixabay 

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